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Maximize Taste, Minimize Waste This Hunting Season

October 8, 2014

WhitetaildeerUSDApublicdomainVenison is a major benefit to hunting and with a variety of cuts available as well as ways to cook it making maximum use of it makes sense. Whether as a roast at Sunday dinner, or as a base for BBQ or chili during the game, venison is a tasty, nutritious meat if it is handled properly.

As a hunter much of the initial handling of this meat is in your hands. Additionally the kill makes a difference in the taste of the meat. Amy with John’s Custom Meats in Kentucky notes “the kill in my opinion is the most important factor in maximum taste and minimum waste – and it is controllable by the hunter. A quick kill and a clean shot increase the taste factors and minimizes waste.”

There are things that are perhaps out of the hunter’s control but a smart hunter will increase the odds by choosing the best deer. “Sex, age and the diet the deer has been feasting on will greatly affect the taste of the meats.” Like other meats those that are feeding on corn pastures and good grasses will have a somewhat less “gamey” taste than those on rough browse.

A clean shot is important and can’t be overstated. “Deer that are gut shot will not only contaminate the meat but also increase the likelihood of off and undesirable flavors. In addition, gut shot deer will have a great deal of meat trimmed away by the processor. That meat is contaminated and is best left on the kill floor. Gut shot deer is our number one meat waster in our area.”

Another advantage for a quick kill is there is less adrenaline pumping through the system. An animal that is wounded and running will get an adrenaline surge which pumps through the body and, with the blood, is carried to the muscles – the meat! The best way to avoid this – a direct hit that drops the deer and kills right away.

Amy adds “the quicker the deer can be field dressed the better for the meats. While deer are a lean meat they do have external fat, which will spoil and go rancid.” She adds that as a processor “a good processor will trim the meat cuts into retail type cuts and the fats will be removed” which also increases the amount of useful meat.

Other factors is not opening the hams or brisket if not necessary. “The hams can be spread out to increase cool down, in most instances, without removing the hide. The hide protects the meats and keeps the meat sanitary until you arrive to the processor.”

Sometimes there are tough choices to make. “If the temperature is warmer outside or if there is a long time frame from kill to field dress, then it is best to accept the meat loss and open the brisket and the hams to cool down the meat more rapidly.”

Some processors will add a bit of beef fat or mix pork or beef with venison that some hunters prefer, especially if they’ve had bad venison from doing the wrong things.

Maximize the meat from your deer. Kill quickly, field dress properly and cool as quickly as possible. The faster the time from kill to freezer the better your venison will be.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2014 6:54 PM

    Agreed! Quick and clean makes them taste better.

    • October 9, 2014 11:52 AM

      Meat quality, meat safety is important! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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